Was Mister Rogers a saint? The Atlantic proposes the idea in a frankly admiring bouquet of an article. But the piece has more than its share of religious ghosts: hints of spirituality that are not fully explored.
Now, I'm going to get picky in this review ("Why stop now?", some of you might say). There is much good in this article on the minister who reassured young viewers through his sweet song It's You I Like. But just as uncut flowers can look ragged and overgrown, florid writing can also get a little unkempt.
The writer does some more-than-decent reporting, not only reciting facts but putting them into a meaningful context. He says Rogers purposely kept a low-tech TV style that instilled patience and kindness. The magazine's own research found that children often talked back to his televised image -- and that Rogers, anticipating their replies, continued the "conversation" in the telecast.
The Atlantic even suggests that Mister Rogers' Neighborhood had saintlike healing powers. In one anecdote, an autistic child learned to speak via the show. In another, Lauren Tewes of Love Boat fame said God helped her kick cocaine "through the instrument of Mister Rogers."
In many places, though, the 1,500-word article is a case of flawed excellence. Here's an example: